The word Ladakh means “The Land Of Many Passes" once really feels it when they enter Ladakh by road way either through Srinagar or Manali highway. It is part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the northern most tip of India sharing borders with Pakistan, China and the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh.It lies between the two highest Mountain ranges of the world — the Himalayan range in the South and the karakuram range in the North .Ladakh is also described as " LITTLE TIBET" because of its close cultural & trading relations with Tibet .
For nearly 900 years, from the middle of the 10th century, Ladakh was an independent kingdom, its ruling dynasties descending from the kings of old Tibet. The kingdom attained its greatest geographical extent and glory in the early 17th century under the famous king Singge Namgyal, whose domain extended across Spiti and western Tibet right up to the Mayum-la, beyond the sacred sites of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar.
The famous pashmina (better known as cashmere) also came down from the high-altitude plateaux of eastern Ladakh and western Tibet, through Leh, to Srinagar, where skilled artisans transformed it into shawls known the world over for their softness and warmth. Ironically, it was this lucrative trade that finally spelt the doom of the independent kingdom. It attracted the covetous attention of Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu in the early 19th century, who sent his general Zorawar Singh to invade Ladakh in 1834 AD. There followed a decade of war and turmoil, which ended with the emergence of the British as the paramount power in north India. Ladakh, together with the neighbouring province of Baltistan, was incorporated into the newly created state of Jammu &amp;amp; Kashmir. Just over a century later, this union was disturbed by the partition of India, as a result of which Baltistan became part of Pakistan.
Ladakh is a land abounding in awesome physical features, set in an enormous and spectacular environment. Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalaya in the south, it is traversed by two other parallel chains, the Ladakh Range and the Zanskar Range. In geological terms, this is a young land, formed a few million years ago. Its basic contours, uplifted by tectonic movements, have been modified over the millennia by the process of erosion due to wind and water, sculpted into the form that we see today.
Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging from about 9,000 ft (2,750 m) at Kargil to 25,170 ft (7,672m) at Saser Kangri, in the Karakoram Range. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 27C in the shade, while in winter they may at times plummet to minus 20C even in Leh. Surprisingly though, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.
Ladakhis are known for their cheerful disposition and most of their festivals fall in winters, which serve as an excuse for social and convivial gatherings. In summers, archery competitions and native version of polo are quite common and especially among the Buddhists, these competitions are often a local ball where folk songs and dances add to the jovial atmosphere andChang, the local barley beer is amply used. The rich collection of oral literature of the region is full of occasion-special songs and poems and includes the localized versions of the Tibetan epic
The folk musical instruments 'Surna' (oboe) and 'Daman' (drum) accompany the ceremonies and public events. These instruments originally introduced into the region by Muslims hailing from Baltistan but are now exclusively played by 'Mons' (Buddhist musicians). A newly born child gets a warm welcome full of festivity and merriment, with functions on his 15th day in the world, after one month of the birth of a child and his/her first birthday. The family invites all the friends, relatives and neighbors and serves them with tea, 'Tsampa' (a local delicacy), butter and sugar.
Tourists can try Ladakhi food that is rich in flavor and it includes Thukpa which is a thick soup that is prepared with vegetables. Momos are stuffed with meat or vegetables and served with chilli sauce. Ladakh has many bakeries that serve freshly baked bread and tourist can relish it with apricot jam. There are various restaurants in Ladakh that serve international meal. Ladakh has organized a traditional food carnival for 2 days which is organized by an NGO and it is called Women Alliance in Leh. Ladakh food festival is celebrated for 15 years and many tourists to promote Ladakhi's amusing traditional culture and boost tourism.
Cheese from Yak’s milk (Chhupri): While traveling to parts of Ladakh, you will come across Yaks, you will click pictures and probably take rides on them. But have you ever thought of trying cheese made of Yak milk? Weird? Well, probably for some people, but when in Leh please do not miss on trying out “Chhupri”. Locals do not understand it when you say Yak cheese, they understand the local term for it “Chhupri”.Tigmo (pronounced Teemo): We did not go looking for this dish, unlike the Chhupri. We just went into a local restaurant in Leh main market, asked for a local dish and were offered the “Tigmo”. It is a form of fermented and steamed bread, served with a veg/non-veg stew.
Shanti Stupa is situated on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shanti Stupa as know Buddhist white-domed stupa. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura .Shanti stupa has provides beautiful and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. This has become a primary reason for Shanti Stupa to become a popular tourist attraction, apart from its religious significance.
The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. Shanti stupa has provides beautiful and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. This has become a primary reason for Shanti Stupa to become a popular tourist attraction, apart from its religious significance.&amp;amp;The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.Situated at a height of 4,267 metres (13,999 ft), the stupa is located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Leh - the former capital of Ladakh - on a steep hill facing the Leh Palace. The stupa can be reached by a drivable road or on foot using a series of 500 steep steps to the hilltop.
Pangong Tso-lake in Changthang region of Ladakh has emerged as one of the most wanted places to visit among domestic tourists in recent times especially after the Bollywood blockbusters Jab Tak Hai Jaan.The Word Pangong is derived from a Tibetan word Banggong Co which means &amp;quot;long, narrow, enchanted lake&amp;quot;. Pangong Lake is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). Pangong Tso is geographically situated in a disputed territory, claimed both by India and China.
The eastern end of the lake is in Tibet and is not claimed by India. The western end of the lake is not in dispute. This beautiful multi-shaded ocean like lake is about 5 KM wide at its broadest point and about 134 KM long with about 60% of the length extending into Tibet.
A huge statue of Buddha on top of it, the Diskit monastery is situated in the Nubra valley of Ladakh. Also known as Diskit Gompa, the Buddhist center is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Leh Ladakh. The Diskit monastery was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo in the 14th century, and at present stands atop a hill above the plains of Shayok river. The prime attraction of the Diskit monastery is 100 foot high Maitreya Buddha statue, which was inaugurated by the holy Dalai Lama. From the top of the Gompa, where the divine statue is settled, one can have a panoramic view of the Nubra valley.
Besides the Buddha statue, other attractions to ponder over in the Diskit monastery are the ancient murals and frescoes. In order to see the monastery blossoming to its zenith, one must visit Diskit Gompa during the months of December and January. It is during this time, the renowned Dosmoche festival is celebrated in the courtyards of Diskit monastery.
Khardung La is a mountain pass in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Khardungla Pass is the highest motorable road in the world. Really? Well, factually the answer is but it is still believed to be the one. I don’t really want to get drawn into this controversy or debate as I don’t understand on what basis it was earlier proclaimed to be the highest motorable road in the world. But we now know, for sure, that there are many higher motorable roads than the Khardungla Pass of Ladakh. It is more like the case of proclaiming Drass as the coldest place on earth, when it does not even features in the top 10 list. The locals would boast about it and take pride in it. But that is not the entire truth.
The swift-flowing Indus and Zanskar Rivers offer rafting enthusiasts excellent venues for white-water rafting in Ladakh. Rafting expeditions are organized from July to September and usually cover the stretches of the Indus river between Hemis to Choglamsar and Nimmu to Phey.
Bringing the colorful shades of festivities in the barren, deserted land of Ladakh, Hemis festival is one event that greatly represents the analogy of Ladakh culture. Like the other popular festivals in Leh Ladakh, Hemis festival in Ladakh also marks the victory of good over evil. Just past the harsh winters of Ladakh, Hemis festival feels like a welcome respite, that lures thousands of tourists to this remote place. And what better way to understand the people and culture of a region, other than its festivals.
Dedicated to the birth of Buddhist Lord Padmasambhava, who is the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism in Ladakh, Hemis festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month. Evident from its name, the celebrations of this renowned festival take place in the Hemis Gompa or monastery, which, along with holding a sacred status, is also the largest of its kind in Ladakh.
Gustor literally means Sacrifice of the 29th day. It is traditional to the monasteries of the reformist Geluk-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism. This two-day long festival is held mainly in the Spituk, Thikse and Karsha (Zanskar) monasteries, at different times every year. The celebration ends with the dismemberment and dispersal of the (sacrificial cake) by the leader of the Black Hat dancers in a ceremony called Argham.Spituk has three branches – Stok, Sankar and Saboo monastery. The monastery started off as pat of Kadampa order (Red Hat sect) but it later came into the fold of Gelugpa order (Yellow Hat sect). The monastery currently is home to about 100 monks. It has many ancient shrines, idols, frescoes and religious scriptures. There is a temple higher up the hill devoted to Vajrabhairava Deity. One can see the face of the idol only during Gustor festival.
Spituk has three branches – Stok, Sankar and Saboo monastery. The monastery started off as pat of Kadampa order (Red Hat sect) but it later came into the fold of Gelugpa order (Yellow Hat sect). The monastery currently is home to about 100 monks. It has many ancient shrines, idols, frescoes and religious scriptures. There is a temple higher up the hill devoted to Vajrabhairava Deity. One can see the face of the idol only during .The monastery has images and statues of Lord Buddha. Besides that, there is sacred idol of Amitayus that is a finger high in size which was presented by Tsongkhapa to Takspa Bum.
The Saga Dawa festival is celebrated on the 4th month of the Tibetan calendar. It is the most revered day for Buddhist followers as on this full moon of this month, the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and then parinirvana. On this very day, every year, the lamas of nearby monasteries change the Tarboche flag pole, that is located at the South of the mountain, Kailash Kora. It is believed that if after the pole is changed, it does not stand erect, it is not auspicious by Tibetans. The festival is celebrated all over Ladakh.
An ancient tradition started by the Kings of Ladakh, Dosmoche is till celebrated every year in February with great pomp and fervour. The courtyard of the chapel below the gates of the Leh Palace comes alive with the music of drums and the thumping steps of the masked Lamas from different monasteries performing the sacred dance-drama. he Lamas prepare, consecrate and eventually destroy the sacrificial offerings as the climax.
The Lamas from the Takthok Monastery, the only Nyingmaps foundation of Ladakh, who are experts in tantric practice and astrology, prepare the elaborate 'Do' or Thread Crosses - the main objects of offering, which ensnare all the evil spirits, hungry ghosts and demonic forces when the prescribed mantras are recited and requisite rites observed by the Lamas.
The swift-flowing Indus and Zanskar Rivers offer rafting enthusiasts excellent venues for white-water rafting in Ladakh. Rafting expeditions are organized from July to September and usually cover the stretches of the Indus river between Hemis to Choglamsar and Nimmu to Phey. River rafting in Leh-Ladakh takes you through picturesque landscape. Traversing through the deep waters amidst deep canyons and soaring snow-covered peaks it is an experience every rafter would love to enjoy.
<p> River Rafting is an adventurous sport for the strong hearted. If you want to enjoy the experience in the Himalayas there is no other suitable destination than Leh-Ladakh. River rafting in Leh-Ladakh takes you through picturesque landscape. Traversing through the deep waters amidst deep canyons and soaring snow-covered peaks it is an experience every rafter would love to enjoy. There are many options for river rafting in Leh Ladakh; the main ones being Indus River rafting and Zanskar River rafting.River Rafting in Indus River and its tributaries provide the rafters with many opportunities.
A motorcycle (also called a motorbike, bike, or cycle) is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport including racing, and off-road .Ladakh Bike Tour is counted among the best adventure experiences in the Land of High Passes. The adventure of riding your bike through Ladakh calls for tourists from around the globe.
The highlight of this tour is riding through the tough roads and High Mountain passes on your bike. Experience Ladakhi culture, a visit to Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable pass in the world along with visit to Pangong Tso, one of the most famous and breathtaking lakes in the world.
The Markha Valley trek places the individuals trekking through its terrain close to the awe-inspiring beauty of the nature. This trek is all about magnificent landscapes, green oasis commonly found in and around and the region and most importantly the Kongmaru La pass, which is a beautiful and scenic place located at an altitude of 5000 meter above the level of the sea.The other attractions while Trekking in Ladakh include quaint villages, monasteries and a chance to peep into the remotest of the settlements. The Hemis National Park situated in this region is renowned for its amazing biodiversity.
This is the one that we chose because it combined hiking and landscapes with people and culture by incorporating homestays with families in villages along the way. For us, this combination is ideal and resulted in a trekking experience that exceeded our expectations. The Markha Valley Trek is also the most popular Ladakh trek and we’re told it can get crowded in the high season (July and August). If you travel to Ladakh during high season, take this into consideration and perhaps choose a less popular trek to avoid crowded trails.
Camel Safari or Caravan with the double hump camels is not just today trend it has been a life line for Ladakh since 17th century till partition 1947. Leh the main town of Ladakh was a tarde centre for traders of Central Asia and rest of India these camels were used for riding and transportation in the.Silk Route&.Hunder, which falls on the historic Silk Route, used to be a busy trade stopover with caravans of Bactrian camels moving in and out of the Nubra Valley
Camel Trekking or Caravan with camels has been a vogue for Ladakh quest since Seventeenth century until partition was done in the year of 1947. Camel Traveling is predominantly evident in Nubra Area from Hundar up to the Diskit .Bactrian camels, along with dual humps, are basically also recognized as the 'Real Camel'. The offspring of those camels were used for riding and transportation in the 'Silk Route' in the consecutive centuries of 17th, 18th and 19th.The most distinctive feature of the Bactrian camel is its two humps. These humps, contrary to popular belief, are designed to store fat and not water. Bactrian camels are classified as herbivores.
Dear Overland Escape, My family just returned back from Leh and we all agreed that we left part of our heart there - and one of the biggest reasons why was our experience with the team at Overland Escape. From the moment we arrived everything was smooth and the orientation ...
It was a great experience with Overland Escape. The team that travelled with us - Thinles, Dawa and Norbu were such wonderful people. We never had issues with the bikes while riding. Norbu was the most fun. Despite us having girls in the group, they were comfortable to travel in ...
Hi Tundup, Sorry for such a late mail. But I was having a manic month. It has been a month since we came back from the trip. I just want to convey my deep thanks for the very well planned trip planned by you. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and ...
Our trip was even more memorable and enjoyable because of the facilities that Overland Escape provided us.Mr. Tunduk Namgyal, who drove us in and around Kerala , was very well versed with the roads, had an excellent idea about the climate and all the information & history about the places ...
It's been a week since we've returned to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and we haven't stopped raving and reminiscing about the fabulous time we had trekking from Raru to Shang Sumdo. We just wanted you to know that we have really enjoyed having Namgyal as our guide. ...